Traditional proofreading is becoming a dying art since so many clients no longer use hardcopies to mark-up their corrections by hand. Today, most clients simply write corrections in an email for you to decipher and follow up with a call, while others write them diligently in a Word document. These methods are amateur at best. They are not accurate and can lead to misinterpretation, which in turn creates even more mistakes. That is why a professional proofreader will only use the internationally-recognized standard marks and symbols to indicate changes. It’s a proven method to mark-up a PDF or hardcopy proof and should always be used.
It’s the Designer’s Responsibility
It’s the designer’s job to insist that this proofing method be adopted by the client in the course of doing business. He needs to outline the benefits of following this proven procedure which always starts by sending a PDF or hardcopy proof clearly marked as 1st Proof with today’s date. The client should use that original PDF or hardcopy proof to write his requested typographic corrections and revisions using the appropriate proofreading marks and symbols. Any other special instructions or unusual changes should be circled and explained in the margin. That 1st proof, now complete with proofing marks, is then sent back to the designer for corrections and revisions. Once done, this process is simply repeated by sending another proof marked 2nd proof with today’s date and so on, until the project is finalized and sent to the printer.
A professional designer working with an experienced proofreader should have few problems reaching a final approved version by the 3rd proof making the whole process efficient and a pleasure, while respecting estimated budgets.